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Thread: Surgery Next Week!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    31

    Surgery Next Week!

    Hi Everyone,
    I'm new to the site, so please forgive me if I am posting in the wrong place or in the wrong way. I just joined, but have to say thanks for all the reading I have been able to do before I created a login and password. Everyone who has shared their experiences has helped me in so many ways - and I don't even know (most of) you! I formally joined to say thanks for sharing and also to share my story so it might help the next person coming along.
    So here is the short story: diagnosed at 19 -no idea what the curves were, but because I had stopped growing at 5'10", they said it would not progress and I was good to go. By my late 20's I noticed some changes and began having regular x-rays. I am currently 49 and my curves are : left thoracic 52ish, right lumbar 59 with significant rotation in the lumbar area. My left scapula sticks way out and I have a right lumbar hump. About 4 yrs ago I had a few consults in the local area (Atlanta) and then went up to see Dr Bridwell about 2 yrs ago. I have seen him 3 times and , long story short, am now scheduled for T3/4 to sacrum fixation next week! I am osteopenic and have also been taking Forteo since December. I'm likely to be on it for at least 6 months postop too. Dr Bridwell felt that my scoliosis, given the progression in the last 20 yrs, would progress significantly in the next 10 yrs. Also, because of the bone density issue, there may come a time when surgery might not even be a possibility. So it's pretty much now or never! Anyway, I'm pretty much scared to death, but am trying my best to maintain a positive attitude and just keep putting on foot in front of the other all the way to the preOp room....
    I have been in touch with a few lovely ladies from this forum and they have been SO helpful (you know who you are out there!!) - I'd love to hear from anyone/everyone with any advice on how to control these nerves - and what on earth did you do the day and night before surgery to keep from totally freaking out??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    Welcome twistedRN,

    Wow, It's very hard not to freak out, but strange as it seems, the closer I came to my surgery date, the calmer I became. I listened to Peggy Cuddleston's CD every afternoon. I had friends call me and offered to pray with me over the phone. The day and night before surgery, you will need to shower and apply antibacterial soap. That procedure changes over the years, so what you will do will probably be different than what I had to do. Also, I would recommend that you eat light meals and drink plenty of fluids the day before surgery so that it is easier for the nurses to start IV's on you. (but you probably know that) I also wrote a journal of all of my fears and messages of love to each of my family members. The day of surgery, I was very calm.

    You will do just fine. You have a great Doctor and you are way younger than I was by 18 years. I will be praying for you.

    Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lilburn, GA
    Posts
    201

    We'll be thinking of you

    Wishing you all the best for your surgery next week!! If it's any consolation, it sounds like you are not only making the right decision in having the surgery done but the only decision. If your curve is projected to worsen in the next ten years, sounds like now is the best time. Mine probably would have worsened but maybe not. I had/have all kinds of doubts. Normal, I guess.

    You'll be in great hands and I look forward to hearing updates on your progress.

    Best,
    Marina
    50 years old!!!!!
    Wore Milwaulkee Brace 1976-77
    Original curve 36 degrees ( measured in the 70s)
    Advanced to 61 degrees 01/2011
    Surgery 07/11/2011
    Fused T1-L2 (curve now in the 20s!)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    31
    Hi Sally,
    Thanks for your kind words! And I sure can use any/all prayers at this time. I kind of know what you mean about calmness. Weird as it sounds, I have felt some of that. I think more like an acceptance, you know? At this point I just really want it over with. I also have that CD but have not listened to it yet....guess I will go download it to my iPod now!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    31
    Marina, you look great!! I can only hope and pray my end result will be as good as yours. Thanks so much for all your support.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    1,250
    Twisted RN--
    Welcome to the forum. All of your concerns sound so familiar. I know it sounds weird but the calmness came for me too before the surgery. I went to St. Louis for the port on a Friday and we kept busy more or less most of the weekend there. I also read Peggy Huddleston book and listened to the CD's a few weeks before. If nothing else, that time spent calmed me and I wasn't obsessing during that time. I always have a terrible time sleeping before something important--let alone major surgery and having to be there at 5:30 AM. I figured it didn't matter much since I'd get a 10-hour "nap" the next day--which I got. Also, I was totally shocked that I did sleep for about 4 hours the night before. Very best to you with your surgery! Janet
    Janet

    61 years old--57 for surgery

    Diagnosed in 1965 at age of 13--no brace
    Thoracic Curve: 96 degrees to 35 degrees
    Lumbar Curve: 63 degrees to 5 degrees
    Surgery with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis--March 30, 2009
    T-2 to Pelvis, and hopefully all posterior procedure.

    All was posterior along with 2 cages and 6 osteotomies.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,261
    Not sure if this might help you, but when I was in my last week pre-op, whenever I found myself focusing on the surgery and the what-ifs, I would force myself to look past the surgery and picture myself living life with this surgery all done and dusted. Straight, pain-free, able to do anything. Taller. Feeling young again. Feeling the relief of no longer worrying about what the future held as my curve progressed. It helped me.

    Wishing you the very best outcome and a smooth ride through recovery!
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    77

    Freaking Out Tonight

    Hi All,

    I was just reading all of your posts and thank you too for your input. Today I received my appointments for pre-op testing, mri, ekg, pft, bone, density, blood donation. I am scheduled May 16th and have been doing fairly well up to this point. Seeing this I think has put me over and feeling a bit emotional right now. I have been really trying to stay positive and thought I was until today. HELP! Will I feel like this to the day of? How do I get that calm feeling. I am spiritual and have been praying quite a bit which has helped. I don't want to be an emotional mess.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    77
    Quote Originally Posted by twistedRN View Post
    Hi Everyone,
    I'm new to the site, so please forgive me if I am posting in the wrong place or in the wrong way. I just joined, but have to say thanks for all the reading I have been able to do before I created a login and password. Everyone who has shared their experiences has helped me in so many ways - and I don't even know (most of) you! I formally joined to say thanks for sharing and also to share my story so it might help the next person coming along.
    So here is the short story: diagnosed at 19 -no idea what the curves were, but because I had stopped growing at 5'10", they said it would not progress and I was good to go. By my late 20's I noticed some changes and began having regular x-rays. I am currently 49 and my curves are : left thoracic 52ish, right lumbar 59 with significant rotation in the lumbar area. My left scapula sticks way out and I have a right lumbar hump. About 4 yrs ago I had a few consults in the local area (Atlanta) and then went up to see Dr Bridwell about 2 yrs ago. I have seen him 3 times and , long story short, am now scheduled for T3/4 to sacrum fixation next week! I am osteopenic and have also been taking Forteo since December. I'm likely to be on it for at least 6 months postop too. Dr Bridwell felt that my scoliosis, given the progression in the last 20 yrs, would progress significantly in the next 10 yrs. Also, because of the bone density issue, there may come a time when surgery might not even be a possibility. So it's pretty much now or never! Anyway, I'm pretty much scared to death, but am trying my best to maintain a positive attitude and just keep putting on foot in front of the other all the way to the preOp room....
    I have been in touch with a few lovely ladies from this forum and they have been SO helpful (you know who you are out there!!) - I'd love to hear from anyone/everyone with any advice on how to control these nerves - and what on earth did you do the day and night before surgery to keep from totally freaking out??
    All the best to you, my prayers will be with you! Keep us posted.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,261
    Rocky, there's no easy solution to this. I am sure most of us here have been through it. Like many others, I did feel that calm acceptance closer to my surgery date so it's likely this might happen to you, so now is probably the worst you'll suffer, more so than closer to your date. Perhaps like Melissa, you can hand it all over to a higher power and stop worrying. It's certainly worked for her and I can completely understand how. Or like me, you can spend the time getting as fit as possible. Odd as it may sound, this makes you braver. I had bad anxiety about this surgery, but getting fitter made me feel I could cope with anything. I felt so strong. (I'd love to get that feeling back, but it took 4-5 hours a day exercising to get it and I'm not that devoted any more!) I had a partner who drove me on. I just did as I was told, so in a way, he was my "higher power!"

    Keep in mind this surgery is just one day. And you'll sleep through it, with others taking care of you, others who are highly qualified and experienced, and have Just one aim in mind that day: keeping you safe and ensuring the best possible outcome for you. So, I think trust, is key. If you're happy with your surgeon, I think you can have that trust.

    Do everything you can to make yourself healthier so that your body tolerates the surgery as well as possible. Eat fresh food, lose weight if you think you need to, get fit, stop smoking if you smoke, cut back on alcohol, you know the drill. This will help give you confidence in yourself. You'll go into surgery knowing you've done everything you can for yourself, to give the best oucome.

    The only other thing I can think of, is ask every question that comes into your mind, someone here is bound to be able to answer it for you. The fewer question marks in your head, the less anxiety you'll feel. Go into this thing with all the knowledge you need. Be organised and prepared for recovery. All these things help that little bit towards a calmer, more confident you.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    77
    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferG View Post
    Rocky, there's no easy solution to this. I am sure most of us here have been through it. Like many others, I did feel that calm acceptance closer to my surgery date so it's likely this might happen to you, so now is probably the worst you'll suffer, more so than closer to your date. Perhaps like Melissa, you can hand it all over to a higher power and stop worrying. It's certainly worked for her and I can completely understand how. Or like me, you can spend the time getting as fit as possible. Odd as it may sound, this makes you braver. I had bad anxiety about this surgery, but getting fitter made me feel I could cope with anything. I felt so strong. (I'd love to get that feeling back, but it took 4-5 hours a day exercising to get it and I'm not that devoted any more!) I had a partner who drove me on. I just did as I was told, so in a way, he was my "higher power!"

    Keep in mind this surgery is just one day. And you'll sleep through it, with others taking care of you, others who are highly qualified and experienced, and have Just one aim in mind that day: keeping you safe and ensuring the best possible outcome for you. So, I think trust, is key. If you're happy with your surgeon, I think you can have that trust.

    Do everything you can to make yourself healthier so that your body tolerates the surgery as well as possible. Eat fresh food, lose weight if you think you need to, get fit, stop smoking if you smoke, cut back on alcohol, you know the drill. This will help give you confidence in yourself. You'll go into surgery knowing you've done everything you can for yourself, to give the best oucome.

    The only other thing I can think of, is ask every question that comes into your mind, someone here is bound to be able to answer it for you. The fewer question marks in your head, the less anxiety you'll feel. Go into this thing with all the knowledge you need. Be organised and prepared for recovery. All these things help that little bit towards a calmer, more confident you.

    Thank you so much for all of your input. I value this tremendously and will probably be leaning on you all more so thank you for being here, truly. Feeling a little better this a.m.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    535
    Quote Originally Posted by twistedRN View Post
    Hi Everyone,
    I'm new to the site, so please forgive me if I am posting in the wrong place or in the wrong way. I just joined, but have to say thanks for all the reading I have been able to do before I created a login and password. Everyone who has shared their experiences has helped me in so many ways - and I don't even know (most of) you! I formally joined to say thanks for sharing and also to share my story so it might help the next person coming along.
    So here is the short story: diagnosed at 19 -no idea what the curves were, but because I had stopped growing at 5'10", they said it would not progress and I was good to go. By my late 20's I noticed some changes and began having regular x-rays. I am currently 49 and my curves are : left thoracic 52ish, right lumbar 59 with significant rotation in the lumbar area. My left scapula sticks way out and I have a right lumbar hump. About 4 yrs ago I had a few consults in the local area (Atlanta) and then went up to see Dr Bridwell about 2 yrs ago. I have seen him 3 times and , long story short, am now scheduled for T3/4 to sacrum fixation next week! I am osteopenic and have also been taking Forteo since December. I'm likely to be on it for at least 6 months postop too. Dr Bridwell felt that my scoliosis, given the progression in the last 20 yrs, would progress significantly in the next 10 yrs. Also, because of the bone density issue, there may come a time when surgery might not even be a possibility. So it's pretty much now or never! Anyway, I'm pretty much scared to death, but am trying my best to maintain a positive attitude and just keep putting on foot in front of the other all the way to the preOp room....
    I have been in touch with a few lovely ladies from this forum and they have been SO helpful (you know who you are out there!!) - I'd love to hear from anyone/everyone with any advice on how to control these nerves - and what on earth did you do the day and night before surgery to keep from totally freaking out??
    Hi Suzanne!

    This is what Jeremy and I did the weekend before my surgery:
    Sat - walked in Forest Park and then watched some movies we brought from home
    Sun - went to the History Museum, it was too cold to walk outside but I would have if it was warmer, watched movies, took valium about 9p and went to sleep early since we had to get up at 4:45a.

    Don't forget, you've got the easy part in your big day - show up at hospital, go to sleep and wake up!

    I hope Kevin can send updates. Praying for safe travels and a successful outcome. :-)

    Warmly,
    Doreen
    44 years old at time of surgery, Atlanta GA

    Pre-Surgery Thorasic: 70 degrees, Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 68 degrees, lost 4 inches of height in 2011
    Post-Surgery curves ~10 degrees, regained 4 inches of height

    Posterior T3-sacrum & TLIF surgeries on Nov 28, 2011 with Dr. Lenke, St. Louis
    2 rods, 33 screws, 2 cages, 2 connectors, living a new life I never dreamed of!

    http://thebionicachronicles.blogspot.com/

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    1,250
    Everyone heading for surgery should read Jennifer's post #10 above. She nailed it!! Janet
    Janet

    61 years old--57 for surgery

    Diagnosed in 1965 at age of 13--no brace
    Thoracic Curve: 96 degrees to 35 degrees
    Lumbar Curve: 63 degrees to 5 degrees
    Surgery with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis--March 30, 2009
    T-2 to Pelvis, and hopefully all posterior procedure.

    All was posterior along with 2 cages and 6 osteotomies.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    535
    Quote Originally Posted by rockycarm View Post
    Hi All,

    I was just reading all of your posts and thank you too for your input. Today I received my appointments for pre-op testing, mri, ekg, pft, bone, density, blood donation. I am scheduled May 16th and have been doing fairly well up to this point. Seeing this I think has put me over and feeling a bit emotional right now. I have been really trying to stay positive and thought I was until today. HELP! Will I feel like this to the day of? How do I get that calm feeling. I am spiritual and have been praying quite a bit which has helped. I don't want to be an emotional mess.
    It may be helpful for you to write down which tasks need to be done on which days and then focus on one day at a time; today. Crossing things off my To-Do List gave me a sense of accomplishment and I was actually very excited when my big day came. I only had 6 days to plan for my out of state surgery because I took a cancellation slot that opened up. Continue to pray for you to receive strength, peace and comfort.

    Warmly,
    Doreen
    44 years old at time of surgery, Atlanta GA

    Pre-Surgery Thorasic: 70 degrees, Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 68 degrees, lost 4 inches of height in 2011
    Post-Surgery curves ~10 degrees, regained 4 inches of height

    Posterior T3-sacrum & TLIF surgeries on Nov 28, 2011 with Dr. Lenke, St. Louis
    2 rods, 33 screws, 2 cages, 2 connectors, living a new life I never dreamed of!

    http://thebionicachronicles.blogspot.com/

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,690
    Hi, Suzanne,
    You will do fine. You have a good attitude and an excellent surgeon. I tried to not think about the surgery, but to think positive thoughts like, "A week from now my back will be straight" or as they say on this forum "A week from now I'll be on the other side and start my recovery". I noticed Jennifer said about the same thing in her post to you. She is probably the one who gave me the advice before my surgery and it seemed to help me. I was still totally scared, but just knew that my future was going to be better if I had the surgery. I'll be sending postive thoughts and prayers your way.
    Karen

    P.S. Welcome to the forum!
    Karen

    Surgery-Jan. 5, 2011-Dr. Lenke
    Fusion T-4-sacrum-2 cages/5 osteotomies
    70 degree thoracolumbar corrected to 25
    Rib Hump-GONE!
    Age-60 at the time of surgery
    Now 66
    Avid Golfer & Tap Dancer
    Retired Kdgn. Teacher

    See photobucket link for:
    Video of my 1st Day of Golf Post-Op-3/02/12-Bradenton, FL
    Before and After Picture of back 1/7/11
    tap dancing picture at 10 mos. post op 11/11/11-I'm the one on the right.
    http://s1119.photobucket.com/albums/k630/pottoff2/

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